Morocco Medina, Tourism in Ancient Cities

The Morocco Medina means “city” in Arabic. It represents the part of the city that has kept its original character, unlike more modern districts. In other words, they are the ideal place to discover the country’s culture, find your most beautiful travel memories and exchange with the Moroccan people. Please take advantage of your stay on the African continent to visit one of them!

In Morocco, a medina refers to the old, historic, walled part of a city, typically the original settlement that dates back centuries. The medina is often the most interesting and vibrant part of the city, with narrow, winding streets, traditional architecture, and bustling souks (markets) selling a variety of goods, such as spices, textiles, pottery, and jewelry. Many medinas in Morocco are UNESCO World Heritage sites and are popular tourist destinations, offering visitors a glimpse into the country’s rich history and culture. Some of the most famous medinas in Morocco include the medinas of Marrakech, Fez, and Chefchaouen.

Medina of Marrakech

The Marrakech medina is undoubtedly one of the best-known in the country. It has also been listed as a UNESCO heritage site for over 30 years. This part of the city comprises several monuments to discover during a visit. Among others, we notice, even before entering the town, the famous mosque of Koutoubia, which stands out for its magnificent architecture. This religious building, built during the 12th century, is the largest mosque in the country, with some 77 m in height. Although entry to non-Muslims is prohibited, you will fall in love with its structure. The Saadian tombs are also a must since they are part of the country’s remarkable past. Finally, it would help if you visited the Jemaa el-Fna square, where street entertainment and souks are overflowing.

Medina of Marrakech

Medina of Fez

Also listed as a UNESCO heritage site for almost 40 years, the Medina of Fez, known as Fez el-Bali, is home to the oldest university in the world, the Al Quaraouiyine mosque. In the heart of the Medina, you will find the traditional souks and tanneries where leather is made. Many imperial-looking monuments are also found there, including the Nejjarîn Museum of Wood Arts and Crafts, the Attarine medersa, which is a religious school, the magnificent Bab Boujloud gate at the entrance to the Medina, which is the one you see in the photo, without forgetting the riads, the beautiful gardens and the thousand and one alleys in which it is good to walk there.

Medina of Fez

Medina of Chefchaouen

How not to fall in love with the magnificent Medina in the pastel blue color of Chefchaouen? Also called Chaouen, the city offers Andalusian-style architecture with small streets of asymmetrical staircases and pretty colorful flowerpots. On-site, there is the Great Mosque and its octagonal minaret. In front of it, you can admire and visit the Kasbah. This citadel has kept its original character with its beautiful gardens and the city’s ethnographic museum. You will discover several elements of the country’s culture, including traditional costumes and handmade tableware.

Medina of Chefchaouen

Medina of Meknes

Unsurprisingly, the Medina of the city of Meknes has also been a UNESCO World Heritage Site for over 20 years. The main entrance stands out thanks to the attractions of its Bab el Mansour door decorated with pretty mosaics. As soon as you enter, you will see restaurants, cafes, markets, various shops and some street entertainment that are worth a visit. Pick fresh fruit and delicious, rich-tasting olives, and visit the souks for great finds. 

Medina of Meknes

Medina of Tetouan 

Even if we never say two without three… it’s rather never three without four in this case! And yes, this Medina has also been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. Called the “white dove” because of the color of its buildings, the Medina of Tetouan invites you to stroll through its labyrinth of alleys to discover the history and culture hidden there. Since the city is on a rising slope, you must climb to the top to admire the Kasbah without forgetting to stop in the small craft shops. 

No matter which city you want to visit in Morocco, you will certainly be able to live an immersive experience there for a few hours. Whether exploring the narrow streets, visiting local markets or tasting typical Moroccan dishes, the medinas of Morocco are a must to visit during your stay!

Medina of Tetouan 

Medina of Tangier

The old Medina of Tangier is the corner of the city’s secrets. A small box filled with shopping malls, monuments, doors and restaurants to discover.

The main entrance is Souk Barra’s roundabout opposite Tangier’s Cinematheque. You will find the Anglican Church of Saint Andrews, the Sidi Bouabid mosque and the Mendoubia palace.

The entrance behind the FAHS door leads to several routes; on the right, the traditional Moroccan market, following the little Socco known by its cafes and its mythical figures in the history of Tangier.

At the bottom, you will find the imposing Jewish cemetery near Bab Mirican. From there, this door leads us to the district of Bni Idder, forming with Jnan Kabtan, Oued Ahardan, Dar Baroud and the Kasbah, the medina of which we find the balconies and windows reflecting the traditional architecture.

Frequently Asked Questions

A souk is a marketplace or bazaar typically located within a medina or ancient city. In contrast, a medina is a city’s centuries-old, walled portion.

A souk is a market prevalent in the Middle East and Northern Africa. Various products, including spices, textiles, pottery, jewelry, and traditional handicrafts, are sold there. Souks are frequently found within a city’s medina and come in various sizes and styles. Some souks are enclosed markets, while others are open-air.

In contrast, the medina is a city’s old, historic section typically enclosed by fortifications. With its narrow, meandering streets and traditional architecture, it is frequently the city’s most fascinating and lively section. Visitors can explore historical structures, mosques, palaces, souks, and markets within the medina.

In conclusion, a souk is a market frequently located within a medina. In contrast, a medina is the old, walled-in section of a city that contains a variety of attractions, including souks.

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